The 2018/2019 Mercy Tree Gift Fund Appeal beneficiary is Women's Community Shelters (WCS). WCS works with local communities to provide more safe havens for women (and their children). WCS offers vulnerable women at risk of homelessness or domestic violence shelter, active case management, support, dignity, self-esteem and a chance to start anew, through the establishment, operation and/or supervision and support of Women’s Community Shelters and transitional housing.
Annabelle Daniel, CEO Women’s Community Shelters says:"At the heart of Women’s Community Shelters is our wish to keep vulnerable women and their children safe from further harm, and contribute to their rehabilitation within their local community."
In 2017/2018, Mercy Tree Fundraising went to the House of Welcome, which welcomes, shelters and empowers people seeking asylum and refugees. The House of Welcome was founded in 2001 and provides holistic support to refugees and asylum seekers who are living in the community with minimal support options including housing, community living and family support, a drop in centre (including a weekly Foodbank), skills development courses, and community connections such as a catering social enterprise and school holiday programs.
In 2016/2017, the OLMC community was invited to help make works of Mercy possible by supporting a new Mercy Works Project through the Mercy Tree. Mercy Access is a new project of Mercy Works which aims to enable Indigenous primary school students living in rural Australia reach their potential. It will launch at the end of 2016 in the Sandhurst Diocese in Victoria and will see trained volunteers (mostly retired teachers) enter Catholic School classrooms to work with specifically selected students three hours per week for the entire school year. This new project is based on the model used by the Mercy Connect program which see students of a refugee and asylum seeker background receive mentoring support by trained volunteers to help improve literacy and numeracy skills. The model has been adapted to the needs of Indigenous students.
The 2015/2016 Mercy Tree cause, nominated by Mercy Girls, was Jesuit Social Services, a social change organisation with a vision of building a just society by working with those most in need to make a real, sustainable difference. The organisation was chosen by Year 10 Mercy Girls Andrea Fok, Olivia Murillo and Jasmine Bautista. Through a range of programs, Jesuit Social Services helps people through difficult periods of their life and focuses on engaging them to reach their potential.
In the past, other programs have been beneficiaries of Mercy Tree fundraising including the Jesuit Refugee Service's Arrupe Place in Parramatta Strong Young Mums, Mamre House Programs and St Michael’s Family Centre. Strong Young Mums was a program of Catholic Mission aimed at helping young Aboriginal mums develop skills to lead strong, independent lives. A donation of $3,500 was made to the Mamre Magic Program which aimed to bring some magic to people with disabilities through the Mamre Magic activity days. $5,000 has was also donated to Mamre House to purchase two tanks for rainwater harvesting to assist in farming operations. St Michael’s Family Centre at Baulkham Hills received a donation of $3,500 toward their Supported Accommodation Program which was a short to medium term accommodation service for women and children who are homeless and/or at risk, most often due to domestic and family violence. $7000 was donated to Arrupe Place to help provide a range of services to refugees and asylum seekers living in Western Sydney, including food vouchers, computer use, casework services, general information and referrals, financial assistance and social support activities.
View the list of donors to the Mercy Tree for the Year ending 30 June 2018
Thank you for your support,
Sister Catherine Ryan RSM
Former Congregation Leader and Patron of the Mercy Tree Gift Fund
Principal, Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta